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Glossary of Technical Terms




SATA is an acronym for Serial–ATA, a computer bus architecture designed to optimize data transfers to and from hard drives. Built to act as the successor to the legacy “ATA” drives (also referred to as IDE).

While first generation SATA drives offered 1.5 GHz operation, with data transfers of up to 150MB/s, a newer standard, SATA II, was developed to offer data transfer speeds of up to 300 MB/s. To simplify differentiating between the two standards, the respective technologies have been named as follows:

Original SATA: SATA/150 – indicating the data transfer speed limit of 150MB/s
Second generation SATA – SATA II (referring to the generation)
                                                  SATA/300 (referring to the throughput limit of 300MB/s

Aside from the improved throughput, another distinguishing feature of SATA/SATA II is the method used to connect the drives. Instead of the customary multi-pin IDE cable used with IDE or PATA drives, the SATA connector is a much thinner cable, as pictured below.